On the eve of International Women’s Day, I wanted to take the time to reflect on the things that I think are important to empower women in 2015.
The first thing that strikes me when I think about empowerment is the struggle that women still face in male dominated workplaces.
For a female wanting to get promoted in this sort of environment, it really is a battle. I know, I checked.
The thing that I found difficult in that environment was that the men do tend to have a lot of solidarity. The higher management roles are predominantly held by men and they do favour their friends for promotion. Fact.
Unfortunately, us women don’t naturally stick together as well as we should in that sort of environment. So I think that when it comes to large, male dominated workplaces the thing that can empower women; is women.
The second thing that still needs to change is attitudes. This is of course easier said than done, but we are still a million miles away from achieving equality.
In the church, you can argue the why’s and wherefores but women are still treated as second class citizens.
Of course, that’s not the only area but it is a very influential institution that leads women to believe that they are not as important as men.
Until we are all regarded as equal regardless of gender, men will always have the upper hand in regard to their own self-belief if nothing else.
And the final thing that I believe can empower women is allowing them to be both career women and mothers simultaneously.
Let’s face it, we live in a digital age. There really is no need for every job to be carried out within the confines of an office these days.
I often hear a debate in the media around childcare. The provision of childcare, whether it should be free, whether it should be subsidised and who should receive what.
There is talk about empowering women to get back to work after having children. But what about empowering them to do both?
When I had my first child, I was incredibly lucky to be able to start working from home. This was thanks to a woman who was able to help me.
Now, I work from home as a freelancer. I know this is not an option for most people, which is why society needs to step in.
There are few large companies that don’t have jobs that could be done at least predominantly from home. In many of these roles, office hours are irrelevant.
Personally, I work in the afternoons, evenings and at weekends. Whilst this wouldn’t work for customer facing or telephone roles, there are a lot of positions that these hours would work for.
The problem is that the majority of large companies that could empower women in roles that support motherhood are predominantly run by men.
So realistically, things won’t ever change until girls and boys grow up with an attitude of equality. That and an understanding of what it means to be able to both work and look after your children full time.
I wonder what the future will hold when this little girl becomes a woman?